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Geek Tip: Maximize Your Mac With Spotlight

Maybe you know everything that Spotlight does already, and maybe you've never really thought about the little magnifying glass icon in the top right hand corner of your Mac's screen.

If you're in the latter category, then I have some tips that will make your life easier. You may use it most often in the search bar of your browser window or to hunt down stuff in iTunes, but these tips explore the offline applications of this handy little tool (for those of you who have updated to Leopard).

Click on the Spotlight icon for:

  • A Dictionary: Don't waste your time looking for a website to do it for you — just open spotlight, type in "lugubrious," and hit enter. Spotlight activates the Dictionary application and provides you with the definition of the word and its etymology.
  • A Calculator: Just type the math problem into Spotlight and the calculation is performed and displayed in the window.
  • To see what else it can do,


  • To open up applications and files instantly — good even if you use Quicksilver.
  • Lastly, the shortcut key to get to the Spotlight for Finder is command-space bar or command-option-space bar.
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Join The Conversation
beingtazim beingtazim 8 years
ah man, i can't afford to get leopard, still. :( blast...
kmkbean kmkbean 8 years
Thanks Geek - I love the MAC and BBerry tips.
Happsmjc Happsmjc 8 years
this just made my dayyy!!!
injustica injustica 8 years
mmm. times like these that i wished i had updated to leopard ...
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
That's so cool. I've been woefully underusing Spotlight and Automator.
linb linb 8 years
That explains it. I don't use Leopard.
ladypenguin ladypenguin 8 years
Wow, I had no idea about the dictionary and calculator function....that's even faster than clicking on the dashboard! Now if only it would give me the weather forecast...and yes I totally checked if it would. ;)
glam-sugar glam-sugar 8 years
I love Spotlight in Leopard!
Tech Tech 8 years
linb--this is actually for Leopard, so that may be the problem. I'm updating the post duly.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 8 years
what?! thats sweet.
linb linb 8 years
Mine isn't working as a dictionary OR a calculator. I even tried the exact examples that you used.
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